Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

This book was based on an actual Gestapo file.

Fallada was given the file after the war by a friend and after reading through the entire file, he sat down and wrote a fictionalized version of the story in about 24 days and 539 pages.

This was a very engaging story about a couple living in Berlin during World War II.  They voted for Hitler the first time but later became disillusioned by his regime.  After their son is killed in the war, they decide they must do something to speak out against the lies and propaganda of the Nazi regime.

This is the story of their day to day lives and the lives of those people who are geographically close to them. Because of this, these others become embroiled at some point or another in the saga.  It is a tragedy many times over.

This was an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

Fallada wrote quite a few other books and it looks like they have all been translated into English.

Day After Night

Day After Night by Anita Diamante

This book is based on a true story.  It is the tale of the rescue of more than two hundred Jewish refugees.  They were being held as prisoners for illegal immigration into Israel after World War II.  The British Military were running this prison near Haifa.

The story is told from the voices of four young women who had all survived the holocaust in a different way. They were all plagued with the ghosts of their past and the things they had done to survive but were looking forward to a new life.  A life after death, a day after night.

This book was extremely well written and I really enjoyed it a great deal.

Diamante also wrote the Red Tent which I thoroughly enjoyed several years ago. She has another book The Last Days of Dogtown that is on my "to read" list.

The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Seven-year-old Lavinia left Ireland with her parents and brother.  When she arrives in the United States, she is orphaned and soon to be separated from her brother.  The ships captain kindly takes her home so that she can work off her passage.

Being a white girl indentured with black slaves causes a great deal of social confusion in Lavinia's life.  It isn't until she is married with a young child that she starts to really realize "the way things are."

This is Historical Fiction in that the author has re-created the life-style of slaves and slave owners of Virginia. The characters are all fictional but they are characters that, for the most part, are believable and have depth of character.  The one character that is lacking, I wonder if it wasn't on purpose since he was never really present anyway.

This is the only book by this author but I would read another if she wrote one.

The Copper Sign

The Copper Sign by Katia Fox

Beginning in England in the year 1161, Ellen, a blacksmith's daughter wants nothing more than to follow in her father's footsteps.  Unfortunately, such is not the lot for a girl.  Circumstances arise where it is most convenient for Ellen to become Alan as she flees the wrath of her mother and the local lord.

Ellen has a great many adventures and learns a great deal as she travels through England and into Normandy and then Belgium.

This isn't historical fiction but it feels similar to it.  It was originally written in German and the translator also translated The Hangman's Daughter which I also liked very much.

I really enjoyed this book.  It had a great escapist quality to it and I very easily fell into the world of 12th century Europe.

Awakened (Vampire Awakenings)

Awakened (Vampire Awakenings) by Brenda K. Davies

This is what I can only hope is young adult literature.  The story is pretty boring.  I stopped halfway through and read a whole bunch of other books and then I just decided to get it over with and finish it.

The characters are college-aged (sort of).  It's your basic "girl meets hot bad boy" story except, of course, that the bad boy is a vampire.  He and his vampire buddies are mostly lame.  They haven't really taken time to explore their vampire selves.  They have spent their time hanging out in frat houses and giving college girls weird "hickeys".

There are two books in this series and she's written another series (Destined) that seems equally vapid.

I don't think I'll be reading any more of this series or any others by this author anytime soon.